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Does the user care about URLs? (another thread from Re: Censorship?)

From: <rachel.flagg@gsa.gov>
Date: Tue, 9 Nov 2010 14:34:27 -0800
To: chris@e-beer.net.au
Cc: Gannon Dick <gannon_dick@yahoo.com>, W3C e-Gov IG <public-egov-ig@w3.org>, public-egov-ig-request@w3.org, Mike Norton <xsideofparadise@yahoo.com>
Message-ID: <OF68E36FFB.491F13B6-ON852577D6.0055C376-882577D6.007C010E@gsa.gov>
Hi Chris - thanks for the thought-provoking questions below about "does 
the user care?"....

URL/URI structure IS important on the back-end, to help us do a better job 
managing our information.  A good Info Architecture helps you organize, 
categorize & manage your information, but I don't think end users care 
about it

They might care about the domain that comes up in search results -- to 
verify that the site they want to click on is "trusted" -- but as long as 
people can go to Google or Bing & find what they are looking for, I don't 
think they care about URI.

On a related note, did you see that the US Govt has passed the Plain 
Writing Act of 2010, requiring US Federal Govt agencies to use “writing 
that is clear, concise, well-organized and follows best practices 
appropriate to the subject or field and intended audience”

Read the text of the Act here: 

This will have implications (in the US) for helping people understand WHAT 
the data is about, and WHY they should care about it.

So for everyone on this list who loves "data".....please remember that 
data cannot stand alone - "words" are also important, to put data into the 
proper context. :-)

Rachel Flagg 
Co-Chair, Federal Web Managers Council 
Center for Customer Service Excellence 
Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies 
U.S. General Services Administration 
www.WebContent.gov -- Better websites. Better service. 

Chris Beer <chris@e-beer.net.au> 
Sent by: public-egov-ig-request@w3.org
11/08/2010 01:29 PM
Please respond to

Gannon Dick <gannon_dick@yahoo.com>
Mike Norton <xsideofparadise@yahoo.com>, W3C e-Gov IG 
Re: Censorship?

1) Mike - your messages are indeed going to list. :)

2) Gannon - Lat/Long has gone the way of the nautical mile - GIS changes 
the game and is far more accurate anyway - just pop your state name and 
coordinates in a controlled vocabulary or thesarus and away you go. GIS 
also moves beyond tieing physical borders to dry land as it is absolute 
positioning. (The classic example of use being a river as a border between 
two states. The two states have an agreement that one bank is the actual 
border (i.e - one state actually owns the river) - so what happens when 
the river floods? Does one state get larger and the other smaller?)

While the idea of creating the perfect system is indeed nice and 
interesting to discuss theoretically, it isn't realistic - there is just 
too much time and investment in the current model by states and business 
(and standards groups) to consider changing things. It doesn't matter 
whether US Government Data makes more semantic sense expressed as 
us.gov.data than data.gov - it won't change anytime soon. (That's not to 
say someone won't build a User Agent with some sort of in built semantic 
URI parser - which is a far more likely realisation of your suggestion 
Mike, and one I wouldn't mind seeing :) )

I think that Mikes' proposal raises a few interesting points that are well 
worth discussion by any modern e-government. Namely : In the world of 
today's internet, and the future semantic web, what does a URI look like? 
Or rather, what does your e-governments' online information architecture 
look like? Is there as consistent standard structure to your URI's that 
assist citizens in finding information quickly and semantically? And is 
there any actual benefit to this?

If I type "Data USA" into my browser address bar (which you can in the 
latest ones and it will work), does it matter if the result returned is 
data.gov, or if it is public.statistics.omb.gov/datasets (fake URI - 
example only)? Or is all that matters that the browser points you to Does the user care?

Would be curious to hear the opinions of list members as a sideline to the 
regular and less theoreticaly LOD work the group is doing, just because 
discussion is good.



On 11/9/2010 7:44 AM, Gannon Dick wrote: 
I think there is an easier way ...

Governments (maybe not in the US, at the moment, with the perverted 
definition of Capitalism in use)  can move forward, if there is a firm 
scientific basis, with or without Business.

Do you know what an RDF List looks like ?  There is a "first" member, then 
a "rest" member, then a "nil" member. The model for Countries looks like 
  <rdf:first>High Seas</rdf:first>
  <rdf:rest> Australia etc.... </rdf:rest>
  <rdf:rest><rdf:nil /></rdf:rest>

This is the "Politics of RDF".  Only Governments (or a Nominet) can hold 
Top Level Domains representing land, and the "whole world" is covered. 
There is nothing wrong with thinking that the space between your ears has 
freedom, but your head is in some jurisdiction at all times.  The Ocean is 
not "covered" because nobody lives there.  The Latitude/Longitude Model is 
incompatible with the RDF model because of 6 compass points (incl. up and 
down) only one is dry land- Antarctica.  There is only one set of [wet], 
[dry],[dry],[dry] ... (although there are many possible orderings).

Chris, what do you think ? 

--- On Mon, 11/8/10, Mike Norton <xsideofparadise@yahoo.com> wrote:

From: Mike Norton <xsideofparadise@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Censorship?
To: "Gannon Dick" <gannon_dick@yahoo.com>
Date: Monday, November 8, 2010, 1:48 PM

Dystopia, yikes!  (I had to look that one up.:)   I think you are right 
about the reality, that sustaining ignorant customers is a whole benefit 
for the powers that be.  But am I at a loss to think that such an online 
format would bring much more integrity to the process of both governance 
and business?  I would think that the "good" businesses and 'governors' 
would be wholly open to the idea....
Michael A. Norton

From: Gannon Dick <gannon_dick@yahoo.com>
To: Mike Norton <xsideofparadise@yahoo.com>
Sent: Mon, November 8, 2010 11:18:02 AM
Subject: Re: Censorship?

I don't know, Mike.

I think Sandro is out of the country.  But that shouldn't make a 

That said, I do believe you need to re-think this whole concept.  You are 
proposing exact syntax for a web content provider that does not exist. 
Neither the Government (because they would be accused of Big Brotherism) 
nor Industry will go along.  The reality is that ignorant customers 
(without sufficient information) account for a lot of profits.  This is 
only because money is fungible and NOTHING else in Nature is.  You can 
fool a human into buying "food", but the nutritional value does not depend 
on what money you paid, it depends on the nutritional value the "food" 
already had.  I like to think out of the box too, but in this case you are 
envisioning a dystopia, not a utopia. 

--- On Mon, 11/8/10, Mike Norton <xsideofparadise@yahoo.com> wrote:

From: Mike Norton <xsideofparadise@yahoo.com>
Subject: Censorship?
To: gannon_dick@yahoo.com
Date: Monday, November 8, 2010, 12:24 PM

Hi Gannon,
I sent this twice to the eGov IG list, and both times it didn't go 
through.  Why do you think it failed to be delivered?
Michael A. Norton

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Mike Norton <xsideofparadise@yahoo.com>
To: Submit to W3C Egov IG <public-egov-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Mon, November 8, 2010 9:27:49 AM
Subject: Streamlining public data - 3 options

Hello all,

As a way to streamline business data repositories that are publicly 
available into federally specified schemes, please follow [1] and hit me a 
reply with which scenario you think would do the most sufficient job.  Of 
course, if you have a better one, by all means let me know.   Thanks!

[1] http://www.rustprivacy.org/norton/pub.xml

Michael A. Norton

Chris Beer Invited Expert (Public Member) W3 eGovernment Interest Group & 
W3-WAI WCAG Working Group Coordinator - Better Practices in using 
Technology to Delivery Government Services Online - eGovernment IG Task 
Force EM: chris@e-beer.net.au TW: @zBeer LI: 

Received on Tuesday, 9 November 2010 22:35:28 UTC

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